June 04, 2006

Summer travels with Miroslav Sasek

Kelly at Big A little a's "Sunday reviews" post points out a review of children's travel books this weekend in the LA Times -- "The Other Side of Summer: Whole Wide World"-- and I was delighted to find that Sonja Bolle's story is an appreciation of Miroslav Sasek's This Is... series -- This Is Paris, This Is London, This Is New York, and so on:
"As preparation for a family vacation, you can't do better than Czech painter Miroslav Sasek's "This Is …" picture-book series for children ages 4 to 8 (though, really, children of all ages will enjoy them). ...

"Sasek's genius as a traveler was for noticing things. Although some of the facts in his guides are outdated — and these are marked and corrected in careful, unintrusive notes in the new editions — what sings out clearly is Sasek's joy at discovering the character of a place through the gesture of a traffic policeman, the plantings in a public garden or the pattern of spires against a city's darkening sky."
I found a few Sasek books at BookCloseouts last year and picked up a few more for Christmas at Chapters. These are "living geography" books for leaving on the coffee table for enjoyment by everyone in the family, and visitors too.

If you enjoy Sasek's books or would like to learn more about his "wonderful world", this website is the perfect place to start, though sadly it doesn't seem to have been updated at all this year. Don't miss Sasek's biography and bibliography pages. Or Bolle's charming and thorough review.

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